Palace admits system of class suspension needs improvement-A A +A
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
MALACANANG appealed for understanding from the public following another confusion in the announcement of class suspension in Metro Manila and nearby provinces that have experiencing heavy rains since Monday night.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said since there is no storm signal, the responsibility of suspending classes is left to the discretion of the local chief executives.
“We will be asking for a little bit of your patience because it is a new devolved system and our local government units will need to also get used to that system,” she said.
To remind the local officials with their task, Malacañang again posted on the Official Gazette Executive Order 66, which authorizes municipal mayors, as respective chairpersons of respective Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (LDRRMC), to cancel classes and work of government offices during inclement weather.
“We would like to take this opportunity to remind them that the responsibility to suspend classes in times of inclement weather when there is (sic) no storm signals belongs now to the local government officials,” Valte said.
She added it is stated in the EO that suspension of morning classes must be announced by 4:30 a.m. so as not to inconvenience students, school staff and parents.
Classes from pre-school to high school levels in Metro Manila were cancelled Tuesday morning due to continuous rains caused by a low pressure area last seen at 40 kilometers west of the capital.
Several parents, however, complained about the late announcement of class suspension as their children were forced to go to school early in the morning despite the flooding.
Local Government Secretary Robredo, in a radio interview, admitted the need to improve the local government units’ announcement of class suspension.
Robredo said mayors, village chiefs, and school principals should coordinate in making the necessary announcement regarding cancellation of classes during heavy rains since they are the ones who see the situation on the ground.
Robredo said class suspension should be announced as early as 5 a.m. to avoid confusion and danger to both parents and students.
He also supported the proposal to move the opening of classes to a later month since June, July and August are known to be the rainiest months of the year.
Valte said President Benigno Aquino III has been constantly receiving updates from the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) about the weather situation.
She assured that all concerned government agencies have been addressing several flooded areas in the metro.
Valte, meanwhile, encouraged the public to visit the website called Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards or Noah (www.noah.dost.gov.ph) which is a project of the DOST.
“There is a map where you can see the real-time information that is coming in from the rain gauges, that is coming in from the Doppler radars…Primarily, this was launched to make sure that we have a responsive disaster management and prevention for our disaster prevention and mitigation efforts as well as to make sure that another Ondoy does not happen,” she said.
2 dead after wall collapse
Aside from class suspensions, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) relayed the cancellation of six domestic flights going to and from Naga and Busuanga in Palawan.
Two people died in Valenzuela City when a brick wall collapsed along General T. de Leon near the boundary of Ugong village, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said in a text message.
Christian Serrano, 9 and Rodel Pugoy Jr., 29, died instantly, while toddlers Rodel and Riyer Pugoy were brought to the Valenzuela General Hospital after sustaining abrasions.
Four houses were likewise damaged as heavy equipment was deployed in the area for clearing operations.
The weather is expected to improve on Wednesday but Luzon will still experience cloudy skies with widespread rains which may trigger landslides, Pagasa said in its 5 p.m. bulletin.
The rest of the country will have mostly cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms. (Jill Beltran/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)